Customer service does not mean that the customer is always right. Solving problems, improving your business for your customers, and of course, improving your relationship with your customers, however, is what customer service is all about. If you take on the notion that customer service is only there for when there is something wrong, then your customer service strategy is seriously lacking. You need to consider your entire relationship and how you can improve communication and value for your customers.
A repeat customer is infinitely more valuable to your business than a single sale. Repeat customers cost less to keep and are also more likely than not to refer their friends and family to your business. Building such a relationship does not happen by mistake, but with a carefully curated strategy that you can develop for your own business by following this guide.
Improve Your Communication Strategy
A good place to start is with your communication strategy. Communication is key to your efforts, and by improving the experience that your customers and interested parties have when they communicate with you directly, you can, essentially, build up your last line of defense. When a customer gets in touch with you directly, they are either ready to become a customer, and just need one final push, or they are unhappy and giving you a chance to make it up to them.
Here are just a few ways that you can improve your communication strategy:
Your Phone Strategy
Small businesses might not have a whole lot of calls coming in, allowing them to handle customer calls as they come. The same cannot hold true as you grow and expand. A good phone communication strategy is to use machine learning, robotics, and systems so that customers can tell you what they are calling for before you get in touch. You should also be able to record and monitor their call, especially if they open a complaint so that you can resume that conversation instead of starting all over again if they call for an update.
Your Email Strategy
Email is much slower a communication strategy than the other options, but that doesn’t mean that you should let up in terms of the service that you offer. If you can, try to invest in a system that will allow customers to see where their query is with your team. From unread, to read, to case opened, to processing, to complete.
Your Live Chat Strategy
The first part of your live chat strategy is to have a live chat feature in the first place. Chat support is featured directly on your website and gives your customers an easy and simple means to ask questions and have their problems resolved in seconds. It’s also one of the most preferred means of communication, with 41% of users preferring chat support and 73% being happy with the support they receive. To put the power of the chatbox in perspective from a business point of view, know that, on average, an agent will respond to a query in 23 seconds and have the whole matter resolved in under a minute. This is great for your customer service and the value you offer.
Your Direct Message and Social Media Strategy
While only 3% of users prefer to use social media to solve their problems, that doesn’t mean that you can avoid or ignore this channel. Social media is social, and customers will ask questions or notify you of a complaint either through your direct messages or in comments that can be seen by others. A good response on social media can win over others as well.
For every one person who asks a question, there are several other silent users who are also curious and waiting for your answer. Keep that in mind when you cultivate a series of responses and work to develop your brand persona to better appeal to social media users.
Offer Value to Your Customers
Always strive to offer value to your customers on an ongoing basis. A food subscription service, for example, can offer that value by providing free and interesting recipes to try out. A fashion brand can offer articles on trends and styling suggestions. A marketing business can offer truly informative content that showcases your expertise. The goal of offering such value is so that customers are happy to keep open communication with your brand. This way, you can retarget them, can soft market to them, and of course, so that you can show that you are the best brand in your industry.
You can even offer to create a community by doing this. For example, only those who are subscribed to your newsletter can gain access to the helpful guides you create. Big brands have done this with huge success. If you are considering offering membership benefits with a fee, always aim to have a free version of your membership as well, as this will bring in more customers and avoid alienating anyone.
Rewarding loyalty is so easy to do and can help keep customers for years if done properly. How you do this depends entirely on your business model. To keep subscription-based customers, for example, you offer them a discount that makes it cheaper to stay in the long-term and discourages them from trying other brands to see if they are better. The discount doesn’t need to be large, either, just less than what they were paying in the beginning. This offers your customers greater lifetime value.
Other ways to reward loyalty include things like a points reward system. Grocery stores and other essential businesses can really benefit from this, as it encourages larger purchases and repeat business.
Alternatively, you can offer special sales, discounts, or bonus products on milestone dates. For example, you can offer a discount for the one-year anniversary of a customer subscribing to your newsletter, or alternatively for their birthday.
The point of rewarding their loyalty is so that you can convince customers that staying with you over the years is a great thing. It discourages them from trying out competitor brands and instead prolongs your relationship with them.